Older woman with long white hair looking pensively out of the window of her home

Dental Implant Pain and Recovery: What to Expect

Scott Dental Implants

If you have broken, damaged, or missing teeth, it is likely that your dentist will suggest dental implants. They are artificial replacements for your teeth that require a surgical procedure to install them. The recovery time is short, pain levels are usually minimal, and you can have full functionality back quickly. There are several things to plan ahead for if you are getting an implant. Here is what to expect when getting dental implants.

Bone Graft Healing

Bone grafts are not always required for implant surgery.

A bone graft is a procedure where the surgeon takes a small piece of bone from another part of your body or a synthetic source and implants it in your jaw. In some cases, a bone graft is necessary to have a dental implant installed. That means that the bone in that part of your jaw needs to have more bone material available to handle the implant. Bone grafts heal relatively quickly in terms of healing bones. The time frame is different for most people ranging from a few weeks to more than a month. If you need a bone graft, your dental surgeon will do that procedure first, and wait for it to health before placing the implant. While it is healing, you may want pain management and gentle care to prevent irritation.

Dental Implant Placement

Once your jaw is prepared, the dental surgeon can place the implant. This happens in two phases. The first phase is to place a small screw base for the implant. The surgeon will drill into your jaw with a special drill bit. Then, the surgeon screws the base into place. This piece serves as an anchor for the implant. On top of the base is a shaft that is inserted into the implant. 

When the anchor is in place, the surgeon can attach the implant. While doing this, your surgeon will shape the implant to match your other teeth. That way, it will have a better fit and look more natural.

Placement of Abutment and Crown

With the implant in place, there is one step left to go. To ensure that it stays in place, the surgeon positions it between abutment teeth and places a crown or bridge if need be. This process ensures that the implant is supported by the surrounding teeth, and attaches it firmly to them with a crown or bridge so that it will stay in place. Once finished, the procedure is done and you can move onto recovery.

24 to 48 Hours of Recovery

You will need to follow a few basic rules to ensure that your implant heals in place. The most intensive part of the recovery process usually takes 24 to 48 hours. During that time, you have to watch what you eat. Hard foods can force the implant out of position or crack the bone under it. Eat soft foods and try to keep the implant clean.

Avoid strenuous activities during this time as well. Extensive activity can put a lot of stress on your body. While you may not damage the implant, you are still recovering from surgery. You can return to your normal activities quickly, but you should wait at least four days or so before exercising. Many people grind their teeth or put a lot of pressure on their jaw while exercising. It is important to avoid exercise altogether, as even light exercise can cause problems.

Avoid Drinking with a Straw

While you recover, avoid drinking with a straw. Using straws puts a lot of stress on implants, especially since you have to contour your mouth to fit the straw. You could accidentally put too much stress on your implant, which will move it out of place.

Pain Management

Pain management for this procedure is usually minimal and is only needed for a few days. You can generally treat this level of pain with pain killers or over the counter medications. You can also use natural soothing methods like cool foods. If you think that you need more than that, consult your dentist quickly as there may be something leading to increased pain. Your dentist can fix it quickly to avoid future problems and alleviate your symptoms. 

If you are ready to get started with dental implants, contact Carmel Dental Associates at 845-225-2224 to schedule your appointment.